Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Nov. 15

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Nov. 15 announces a three-week shutdown of many businesses to slow the spread of COVID-19

(The Center Square) – Hours after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used her health department to shut down some businesses statewide for three weeks, Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, and roughly nine other Republican lawmakers called for impeachment hearings for the first-term Democrat.

The following reasons for impeachment hearings, according to the Republicans, include Whitmer:

  • Ignoring court orders.
  • Violating residents' Constitutional rights.
  • Ignoring due process and the legislature.
  • Weaponizing contract tracing databases to aid Democratic campaigns.
  • Using kids as political pawns and denying special needs students who depend on the services that occur during in-person classes.
  • Causing the unnecessary death of thousands of our vulnerable elderly who died alone and scared in nursing homes.”

The new emergency order, effective Wednesday, was in response to a rising number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

That order shuttered:

  • In-person learning at high schools, colleges and universities
  • Theaters, stadiums and arenas
  • Dine-in at restaurants and bars
  • Organized sports, except professional sports
  • Bowling centers, ice skating, indoor water parks
  • Bingo halls, casinos, arcades
  • Group fitness classes

Whitmer hasn’t responded to a request for comment but has previously contended that she’s acting because Republicans won’t.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, described the orders as Whitmer choosing “to go it alone, again.”

The orders were the latest blow to the relationship between Whitmer and the GOP-led Legislature, but the two have been embroiled in COVID-19 response disagreements since May.

In October, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Whitmer’s COVID-19 orders after April 30 were unconstitutional and recommended the governor and legislature work together to protect Michiganders. They haven’t been able to find much common ground.

The groups have sparred over the “science and data” that Whitmer and health officials use to drive the shutdown orders.

Republicans note, for example, that restaurants statewide are ordered to shut down even though state data show the industry accounts for only about 4.4% of all COVID-19 outbreaks.

While this new shutdown is slotted for three weeks, Whitmer’s first shutdown was described the same way but lasted for between three and eight months for some businesses.

About 2,000 Michigan restaurants have already closed so far this year, according to the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association (MRLA), which estimated that number will climb to about 6,000 or more by spring.

The MRLA estimates about 250,000 restaurant employees will be laid off during the holiday season without a federal or state safety net.

On a Monday media call, Whitmer called for another federal bailout, saying the state’s resources are too “strapped” to provide much help to the businesses and employees the new order will shut down, compared to the amount available pre-pandemic, the Detroit Free Press reported.

“We don’t want these businesses to go under,” Whitmer said, The Associated Press reporter David Eggert tweeted.

The order targets some industries that have barely operated since the initial COVID-19 outbreak.

In the last nine months, Michigan theaters have only been allowed to open for roughly 35 days.

“While we respect the governor’s decision to ‘pause’ on a host of activities to halt the spread of COVID-19, we continue to be struck by the hypocrisy and inconsistencies in determining which sectors of the economy to close and which are allowed to remain open," Co-Founder and Chairman at Emagine Entertainment Paul Glantz said in a statement to the Detroit News.

"There has not been a single reported outbreak of COVID-19 among guests at movie theaters worldwide, but our governor and her health director have chosen to single-out our industry for closure."

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.